USC Joins Forces with Verdugo Hills

by Lynn Benjauthrit

On July 16, a historic union was born when a deal was closed between two leaders in healthcare: Verdugo Hills Hospital and the USC Keck School of Medicine.  By combining the broad resources of a prominent academic institution and the immediate access to quality care provided by a community hospital, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital promises to provide a new level of medical care for the community.

At one end is USC, a long-standing university known for its ambitious academic and research oriented endeavors.  The Keck School of Medicine represents USC’s bold initiative to bolster its medical enterprise by attaining a physician group, several clinics, and now three hospitals and counting.

On the other end is the former Verdugo Hills Hospital, which built a reputation just as respected as USC’s, albeit in a different neighborhood.  With a history stretching back to 1947, VHH has faithfully provided top-notch care to the Foothill communities by hiring respected physicians and maintaining advanced facilities.

“It’s a great thing for the community and for both hospitals.  Rarely is there a win-win situation because usually the smaller one feels like it’s been swallowed,” said Dr. Armand Dorian, Assistant Chief of Development at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

In this case, both parties benefited greatly from the partnership.

“USC Keck private hospital now has an emergency department, which is a very important way of reaching patients so it’s a big, big necessity for Keck,” said Dorian.

With the convenience and comfort of a community hospital, Keck is now able to have a greater impact on the locals in the Glendale and Pasadena areas.

For USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, its faculty and their patients receive access to physicians in subspecialties who are highly skilled experts along with access to the latest technology in healthcare.  In addition, the hospital also receives financial stability during a time of health care upheaval.

“Initially, people worried about losing their community hospital. Now we’ve only gotten positive comments from the community,” said Dorian.

In addition to connecting with the Trojan Family through patients (many Foothill residents graduated from USC), USC and VHH also collaborated on implementing a stroke program.

“With strokes, you have a very small window to give medication.  If patients are far away from Keck or Cedars or any big hospitals, they might miss out on important medication and so Verdugo took care of that.  After they gave the medication you needed, the technology that smaller hospitals didn’t have was provided by the neurology department at Keck,” said Dorian.

Now, with plans to expand the emergency department and build a neonatal ICU at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, both USC and the Foothill community have much to look forward to. The growth and development of the hospital will ensure that the main goal of both sides is accomplished: to provide quality care to all patients.

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